Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Adele's 60 Minutes Interview.

In this interview, Adele -- who is the biggest-selling singer/songwriter in the world right now -- said she wrote the songs from this last album for herself. It was stuff she needed to write to make herself feel good. It was not calculated, in terms of "trying" to write "hits." It was just a sincere cry from the heart, so to speak.

And that took me right back to the day I wrote "Connected," which was the snowball that created the avalanche called "The Last Session." (Big announcement coming soon. I promise.)

I remember that day so vividly, even as sick as I was because, after all the workshops and seminars I ran at National Academy of Songwriters, with "professionals" telling everyone to eliminate as much "personal detail" as possible, "so Whitney Houston can sing it," I said to myself, "I'm going to write a song that breaks every rule they've been laying down. I'll fill it with details that only my family and friends could possibly get.

IOW, I made a conscious effort to not write a hit song.

It became the biggest song of my career, except maybe for "Going It Alone," another song written purely and completely from the heart, with no regard for how anyone else might take it.

For years now, I've been giving this advice to young writers who approach me. Basically this: Don't write what you think other people might like. You'll be wrong every time. Instead, sit in a quiet room and ask yourself, "What would I most like to hear?" And then, write that.

It's tragic and sad what Whitney Houston did to herself. I don't know what demons haunted her, or what pain she was feeling that she could allow her life to fall so completely apart. Adele, who is a hilarious and witty woman, seems to have figured out how to get over things. Write about it and then purge it with the healing power of music.

Whitney Houston's death seemed more like the anticlimax of a play for which we already knew the ending. Even alive, she wasn't the Whitney her fans knew or recognized. I genuinely hope Adele is as real as she seems to be. I love that she is uninterested, in her shows, of doing anything but standing there and singing. That, for her, it's all about the music, and only the music.

I contrast that with Madonna's half-time show, where it wasn't about the music; it was about the spectacle. A body double could have been doing that routine and I bet we would have gotten the exact same show.

But, no double could stand on a stage and do Adele's show. Only Adele. She's the real thing. She's not famous for being famous, or for being naked, or for being a press whore. This is the first time I've even seen a full interview with her -- and she's as wickedly ballsy in the best Brit way as I was hoping. Shy, petrified of being on a stage, I think she rare and wonderful. Because her music is rare and wonderful. 

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